MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

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Almost all life on earth depends on photosynthetic organisms and their products. Growth and production by these organisms is powered by the flow of huge quantities of energy and substrates through a core network of metabolism. These flows make precursors, reductant, and free energy available for biosynthesis and work. Research in our group focuses on describing and understanding these flows. Using a combination of biochemical, spectroscopic, and computational tools we strive for insights into the functioning of metabolic networks in plant systems. Our practical aim is to learn enough about core metabolism and transport to allow improved genetic engineering and management of plant systems for practical benefits. These benefits include making plant based biofuels and chemicals, improving food crops, and aiding sustainable agriculture. We study several important plant systems including the synthesis of storage products in developing seeds and the exchange of nutrients between plants and beneficial fungi below ground. Researchers in our group gain experimental, computational, and intellectual skills integrated across a range of disciplines and learn to tackle significant research problems.